Blog post

The best-of-breed mindset

Watch the CEO of Sitoo and Director at Norrøna, discuss all things MACH and how it’s shaping retail’s new frontier.

  • Topic
    Retail trends, Unified Commerce, Customer experience, Store operations

At first glance the similarities between retail and deep space seem few and far between but on closer look they aren’t light years apart.

If there’s one thing we learnt from NRF it’s that being curious, brave and having the courage to “boldly go where no one has gone before” is going to be what separates the great retailers from the rest. 

It was these thoughts that were echoed in a MACH Haus discussion between Jens Levin, co-founder and CEO at Sitoo, and Bård Kvamme, Retail Director at premium outdoor fashion brand Norrøna. 

The two discussed how state-of-the-art tech, a best-of-breed mindset, and unlimited flexibility are combining to change the face of retail. Here’s everything we learnt from them about MACH technology and how it’s shaping retail’s new frontier.

1. Invest in tech that serves a purpose

This should go without saying but far too often people seem to get drawn into investing in tech purely for the sake of it. 

Bård Kvamme explains: “The key thing at Norrøna is we’re really curious about technology but this curiosity is underpinned by the ethos that any tech we use must be of benefit for our staff or our customers. There needs to be a clear purpose for technology.

“Far too often I go into stores and see blank screens or systems that aren’t working correctly. Technology simply for the sake of it is the worst thing but technology that brings value to your customers, staff and your operations is a true game-changer.”

2. Create the right foundation

Tech isn’t always about the here and now. Imagine you’re about to go hiking in the high mountains in the middle of winter for the week. You wouldn’t just set out the door with a pair of walking boots would you? You’d prepare so you had the right gear and equipment so you could cope with whatever challenges are going to come your way.

By expecting the unexpected - and preparing for it by putting the right systems in place - you can (as much as possible) future-proof your business.

“If you don’t have the right foundation to meet new customer behavior - and behavior we don’t even know about yet - then you can find yourself in a really tough situation,” says Jens Levin. 

Bård Kvamme adds: “Being agile with your systems - and having systems in place that can react quickly to market changes or customer behavior - is really important for the future. It gives you the ability to be agile which is what you need to be successful. It’s changing the way we work and has already proven to be a huge benefit for us.”

3. Have the right mindset

The most common oil tankers range between 300-330m in length. That’s a lot of oil tanker to move and why turning them takes an awfully long time. Speed boats on the other hand will quite happily zip and dash through the water any which way you want them to.

And this is why you need the mindset of a speed boat and not an oil tanker.

As Jens Levin says: “If you have a MACH mindset, you create the right foundation. This means you can meet the things you don’t know about today in a really fast way. 

“It also means you can be creative. With open APIs and headless technology, you are in a position where you can do creative things and build things that are unique for your business. You have freedom and you hold the power rather than being beholden to the whims of one vendor.

“The other benefit of a MACH mindset is the best-of-breed providers are passionate about one thing and have a mission to become the best player in the world in what they do. You can tap into this passion and bring it into your organization to create an even better customer experience. With a MACH approach, you’ll always have the best technology on the market and you’ll always be bringing the passionate people behind this technology into your organization. And that is massive.”

4. Be brave and believe in creating better experiences  

Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” And, to take us back to where we started, it was belief and bravery that were the two takeaways from this session.

When it comes to being successful now and in the future, Bård Kvamme says this: “Be clear on your concept and be true to your strategy. Have your finger on the pulse with the tech you use and get as close to your customers as you can. The time when associates had to phone tech support ten times a day is thankfully long gone. Invest in systems you know are going to make you and your associates better - and that benefit your customers.”

Jens Levin adds: “You have to be courageous and brave and believe in creating a better customer experience. Find solutions out there that give you the power and flexibility to adapt as retail, technology and customer expectations evolve. Be curious, be positive, and commit to creating a great customer experience every day, forever.”

Next Steps

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